Importance of Literary Criticism in Literature to Students & Teachers Essay


Literary criticism can widen a reader’s understanding of an author’s work by summarizing, interpreting, and exploring its value. Literary criticism is the consideration of literary works and issues, and it applies to any presentation about literature, whether or not works are analyzed.

However, many students are unaware of this word, but understanding literary criticism is as crucial as any other study, exam, or assignment. In this piece of writing, we will discuss everything about literary criticism, the purpose of literary criticism, the benefits and functions of literary criticism, and its importance to the students.

What Is Literary Criticism?

Literary criticism is the art of studying, evaluating, and interpreting works of literature. Like literary theory, which provides a better and broader philosophical framework for analyzing literature. Literary criticism offers readers new methods to understand an author’s work. Examples of literary theories include new historicism, queer, critical, and post-colonialism.

Literary criticism is an explanatory process used to weigh the social value of a written concept. The major function of literary criticism is to describe literature in a manner that will increase understanding. The concept of literary criticism began in the 19th century in Europe among the Bourgeois class.

What Is The Purpose of Literary Criticism?

The function of literary criticism is to widen a reader’s understanding of an author’s work by summarizing, interpreting, and exploring its value. After closely reading the text, a critic defines a comprehensive literary analysis that can challenge another reader’s understanding of the text. The practice of literary criticism develops space for readers to understand the world’s beauty through literature better.

 What Are The Benefits of Literary Criticism To Students?

Mentioned below are some of the benefits of practicing and reading literary criticism:

  1. It expands your worldview – Understanding the works of literature through various approaches can broaden your vision of the world around you. Every literary style boosts the critic and reader to consider different perspectives from their own.
  2. It helps you to understand the literature better – Literary criticism can provide the tools to study, evaluate, and depict literary works like novels, poems, and short stories. Suppose you want to write a critical essay or a book review about a specific piece of literature. In that case, reading other examples of literary criticism can help you frame your viewpoints.
  3. It provides an opportunity for a new writing style – With numerous approaches, the practice of literary criticism develops space and context for authors to create works of literature that force boundaries and break new creative bases.

What Are The Functions of Literary Criticism?

The functions of literary criticism can be described as follows-

  1. Understanding meaning – The Victorian Poet Matthew Arnold was the first contemporary critic, as mentioned by S.N Radhika Lakshmi on the literature-study website. His criticism generally involved poetry, and his support greatly influenced the literary world, developing a new appreciation for its practice. Arnold’s scientific approach to criticism includes both individual and comparative evaluations. He explored an author’s purpose and helped determine what the author was saying.
  2. Philosophy – According to Lakshmi, Arnold was a moralist who based his interpretation on the philosophical foundation. He assumed the position that poetry allows one to have a moral foundation, with positive ideas and perspectives to communicate to the readers.
  3. Discover History – Arnold also believed that poetry was more valid than historical accounts as it was created as an emotional reaction to events rather than a subjective report. According to him, you can learn a lot about that period and its society by assessing literary devices, metaphors, and social norms in literature for a given period.
  4. Develop writing skills – According to the Humanities Department at Georgia Perimeter College, Literary criticism will help the students understand the literature better and help to enhance their writing skills. It can help students provide meaning and value to an author’s work. For every writer, it is necessary to understand the concept of literary criticism so that he can improve the way of communicating directly and indirectly. Moreover, literary criticism can help students discover new ideas and develop philosophical positions.

Final Thoughts:

Literary criticism is to examine the study and make the meaning clear, and in the end, evaluate its worth. It helps a reader to develop critical thinking skills. Criticism gives a reader a cognitive thought by analyzing what critics say and then applying it to the piece of literature. Moreover, various approaches can define the term deeply.